Use of Optimization Techniques in Various Disciplines

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– Choosing a best solution among a set of many solutions
– It is about fulfilling the objective with certain limitations
– It is not about a perfect solution, it is about doing the best you can with limited resources
– Optimization can only be applied when we have a set of options. Optimization is meaningless when we have only one option. greater-mumbai-map

e.g. Suppose you want to arrange a trip to Mumbai. In this trip you want to visit following 4 places: Juhu beach, Bandra bandstand, Marine lines and Gateway of India. You have two options: first, you take following sequence to cover those 4 places:

Juhu->Bandra->Marine lines->Gateway of India

Second, you take following sequence:

Juhu->Marine lines->Bandra->Gateway of India

Which option you will take?? Of course, you will take option first because it minimizes your time and cost. Here our objective was to visit 4 places, which is fulfilled and that too with minimum time and money.




24-road-junctions-los-angeles– Designing of road networks
– Design of civil engineering structures such as frames, foundations, bridges, towers, chimneys and dams for minimum cost.
– Designed of minimum weight structures for earth quake, wind and other types of random loading.
– Design of water resources systems for obtaining maximum benefit.
– Optimal plastic design of structures.

2. Electronics Engineeringdownload
– Optimum design of circuit boards

Eg: While designing a circuit board, we need to place components such that solder path is not shorted. Circuit should run after it is developed on GCB(Genreal Circuit Board). Here, limitation is the size of circuit board. Circuit boards are available in certain fixed sizes in market. Moreover, for embedded application, size of circuit board should be as small as possible. So, we need to place components such that we find a clear path for soldering without much complexities.


3. Mechanical Engineering
– Optimum design of linkages, cams, gears, machine tools, and other mechanical (14)

– Selection of machining conditions in metal-cutting processes for minimizing the product cost.– Design of pumps, turbines and heat transfer equipment for maximum efficiency

– Design of material handling equipment such as conveyors, trucks and cranes for minimizing cost.

4. Computer Science
– Program and software optimization

5. Chemical EngineeringWP_20131217_0031
– Optimum design of chemical processing equipments and plants
– Design of optimum pipeline networks for process industry
– Selection of a site for an industry



6. Electrical Engineeringdownload (17)
– Optimum design of electrical machinery such as motors, generators and transformers
– Optimum design of electrical networks.
– Optimal production planning, controlling and scheduling.
– Optimizing location of a power plant
– Optimum design of control systems.

Eg: Power plant should be located such that it is close to consumer( to reduce transmission losses) and close to the fuel source(to reduce transportation cost). But it is rarely possible that consumer site and fuel source are located near each other. In India, fuel sources are located in Jharkhand,  MP, Chattisgarh. While big consumers( heavy industries) are located in western region(Gujarat, Maharashtra). So we need to have a compromise in chosing location of power plant. It should be at optimum distance from fuel source and consumer site. 

7. Commercial Application
– Allocation of resources or services among several activities to maximize the benefit
– Inventory control
– Controlling the waiting and idle times in production lines to reduce the cost of production.
– Planning the best strategy to obtain maximum profit in the presence of a competitor



These techniques are developed in last 15-20 years. They heavily rely on power of computation. They are based on the natural phenomena. Few examples are:
– Genetic Algorithm
– Ant Colony Optimization
– Teaching Learning Based Optimization
– Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO)
– Mosquito behavior based optimization


– Short Term Training Programs (STTPs)
– Video lectures on NPTEL by G. Srinivasan sir (IIT Madras)
– Maple
– Mathematica
– Nexus
– Labview
– Excel

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